KUALA LUMPUR, March 29 ― Perkasa vice-president Datuk Zulkifli Noordin has been slammed by Hindu leaders after delivering a religious lecture recently in which he tells of how he questioned an Indian trader here on why Hindu gods did not prevent the man’s shop from being flooded.
The independent Kulim-Bandar Baharu lawmaker also questioned the purity of the Ganges River, also known as Ganga in India, which is considered sacred by Hindus.
“I have been to Sungai Ganga before. How can you say it’s pure? There are chicken carcasses and small sticks floating,” Zulkifli was recorded as saying in a video titled “Zulkifli Nordin (PERKASA) menghina agama hindu” uploaded on YouTube yesterday
PKR vice-president N. Surendran called Zulkifli’s remarks a “vicious attack” on Malaysian Indians.
“The words uttered by Zulkifli Noordin amount to one of the worst ever attacks upon a major religion in this country,” Surendran was quoted as saying by PAS organ Harakah Daily today.
“We call upon the Inspector-General of Police and the Attorney-General to immediately investigate and charge Zulkifli Noordin under Section 298A,” added the lawyer, referring to Section 298A of the Penal Code that prohibits actions that cause disharmony, feelings of enmity and hatred.
Zulkifli also appeared to mock what he described as a rush to buy up the broken idols.
“Many Indians are fighting to buy statues of the elephant god, even the one with its trunk broken off… I asked him why they were buying this god, [when] the trunk is broken. He said, ‘never mind we’ll mend it back on’,” said lawmaker who was sacked from PKR.
This is the second incident of the year in which Hindus were the apparent target.
Earlier this year, columnist Dr Ridhuan Tee Abdullah had upset an MIC leader after allegedly disparaging the Hindu community in an article published in Malay-language daily Sinar Harian on February 18.
Today, human rights watchdog Suara Rakyat Malaysia (SUARAM) also joined in censuring Zulkifli for his “disrespectful” remarks.
“The act of insulting the religion or beliefs of whichever community must be stopped. Politicians like Zulkifli Noordin must be rejected by the people in the upcoming general elections and all Malaysian citizens must reject racial politics and any politician who insults the religion of others,” said SUARAM executive director Nalini Elumalai in a statement posted on the group’s Facebook page.
The five-and-a-half minute video also drew brickbats from commenters who told Zulkifli to respect other religions.
“It is not good to insult other people’s religions... this person is stupid... he really insults other religions..I hope the relevant authorities will take appropriate action,” said a YouTube user known as Amin Aiman.
One party that may not join the rebuke is the Cabinet interfaith committee, which yesterday said that it avoids publicly censuring individuals who spark religious tension so as to prevent giving them further publicity.
Zulkifli became a Barisan Nasional-friendly independent MP critical of the opposition when he was dismissed from PKR on March 6, 2010 over a police report he lodged against PAS Shah Alam MP Khalid Samad.
Zulkifli had then taken issue with Khalid’s statement describing a Selangor enactment prohibiting non-Muslims from using the word “Allah” as “outdated”.